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Grain cars derail Downtown

Five grain cars derailed under the McInnes Street overpass in New Westminster Monday morning.

None, however, turned over and caused a safety hazard according to Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, chair of the city's emergency advisory committee. They all remained upright.

"It appears there was a track failure," said Puchmayr. "There's a section of track about half a metre long that is literally severed from the tie. I would say approximately 100 metres from that the track has slipped and five grain cars are derailed, just sitting on top of the slipped track."

He said the train belonged to CP Rail but was on a CN railbed. CP Rail told him the train was traveling at four miles per hour. Maximum speed on that section of track adjacent to the Quayside community is 10 mph, but because it was switching tracks it was going slower.

Puchmayr said the Begbie Street vehicle crossing was closed for about an hour.

"I would say that there's no risk to the public or to the safety," said Puchmayr. "Any time there's a derailment in a heavily populated area that concerns us. We really need to have a good analysis of why a section of track nearly severed. What are the inspection rates. I am told by CP Rail they inspect this track once a week. We need to find out what happened, how it happened and what we need to do to prevent this from ever happening again."

One chemical car carrying crude oil was straddling the track, but didn't derail, said Puchmayr. He added that car had been reconditioned so it was a higher standard than the ones the city has been raising alarm bells on.

"What the chances are of one flipping over and opening up at those slow speeds are is something we have to address and analyze, but I still feel comfortable that it is a relatively safe infrastructure because those speeds are so slow on that track," said Puchmayr.

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